September 17, 2007
How Concealable Body Armor Should Fit And Why
One size does not fit all. Ironically most armor wearers wear their vests to tight and
also put up with the fit of their vest not realizing how a vest should fit. They put up
with the armor riding up against their neck in seated positions, overlapping sides
causing excessive wear and tear on Vest Carriers and not to mention an
uncomfortable fit. Please consider the following Information and facts before
choosing to purchase your new body armor.
Normally a front ballistic panel should be tw o (2) to tw o and one half inches (2 1/2") off the top
edge of the gun belt when standing. This space between the bottom edge of the front armor
panel and the top edge of the gun belt is required so that when an officer sits down this space
w ill close and the vest panel w ill rest on the top edge of the gun belt w ithout riding up into the
When an officer is standing relaxed w ith his arms at his side, the back ballistic panel should rest
one quarter inch to three quarters inch (1/4" - 3/4") off the top edge of the gun belt. This one
quarter to three quarters of an inch (1/4" - 3/4") space keeps the vest from hitting the gun belt
and pushing the back panel up into the collar area whenever an officer goes from a sitting to a
U.S. Armor designs their vests to either just meet on the sides or have no more than a three
quarters of an inch (3/4") space between the front and back panels. This is done for the
follow ing reasons:
1. If the panels overlap at the sides the vest will not be as comfortable.
2. Overlapping at the sides creates tw ice the bulk, w hich decreases concealability.
3. The front and back are alw ays moving independently of each other so by keeping a small
space between them increases comfort and concealability.
COMFORT AND PERFORMANCE
HOW STRESS WORKS
When a person is threatened, there is a temporary increase in energy and strength. Bodily functions
are dramatically altered, including the brain, muscles and internal organs. Senses of sight, hearing
and smell are heightened in response to meet a variety of threats. In it’s heightened state, the brain
signals the release of hormones like epinephrine (adrenalin) into the bloodstream. Depending upon
the situation and the length of time, additional hormones are released. All in response to the
human’s number one priority “Survival”.
WHY LOOSE IS BETTER, STRESS LOVES COMFORT
Armor should not be worn too tightly due to the following occurrences.
When you’re in a dangerous situation, especially involving a chase, your body’s response to stress
1. Rapid breathing to supply oxygen to the heart and lungs.
2. Elevated heart rate to get increased supplies of oxygen to the muscles and brain.
3. The diaphragm, muscles and tendons separating the chest and abdominal cavities, expands
and contracts rapidly pushing air out and drawing more into the lungs. Under stress, the
action of the diaphragm and lungs pushes out against the rib cage for increased lung
capacity and a maximum amount of air exchange.
4. A byproduct of this expended activity is heat, as the body literally “burns” energy. To
maintain normal body temperature and prevent stroke or heat exhaustion, water
(perspiration) is released through the pores, which when in contact with the air, evaporates.
It’s a fact. A body under stress can operate at its optimum when it is unrestricted. Which means,
clothing and equipment that allow the chest cavity and main muscles to expand at will and air can
circulate and cool the body freely.